Oregon is one of the loveliest places in the country today for mountain biking. The weather, the scenery, the variety, the quality and the challenge of each trail is unique, so whether you ride just a few trails or you aim to ride every single trail, you will find each experience is unique!
Here are five of the best mountain bike trails to ride in Oregon – or anywhere in the nation, for that matter. So, if you’re looking for the best places to mountain bike in Oregon, use our list below for some ideas and get that mtb ready for some fun rides.
This page contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.
Trail #1: McKenzie River Trail (Eugene, Oregon)
The total mileage from start to finish on this gorgeous, challenging trail is 26 miles. And in fact, the first third of your ride is the one many mountain bikers find the most challenging, as it leads you straight through a lava field! For beginning mountain bikers, the elevation is relatively gentle as it builds from the start at 800 feet to a height of 2,500 feet, but the length of the ride itself can make the elevation feel more challenging than it is. The length is why it is considered an “intermediate” grade ride overall. After you get through the lava field, you will be treated to the sight of a lovely forested area, complete with local native greenery and flowers (in season). The ride is also dotted with waterfalls and pools.
Trail #2: Alpine Mountain Bike Trail (Oakridge, Oregon)
The Alpine mountain bike trail is quite famous for both its natural beauty and for being as close to perfect as a single track can be. The trail has even been dubbed the “Crown Jewel” for its seamless marriage of beauty and speed. Others like to call it the “Roller Coaster” for the speed that builds during the downward portion of the trail. When you begin, you have a choice between riding up the mountain (for a total climb of 4,800 feet) or taking a shuttle up with your mountain bike. The trail is considered intermediate level for bikers who complete the entire up-and-down trail by bike. The trail also offers a variety of loops and switchbacks to add to the fun and challenge as you descend. One big perk for summer riders is that much of the trail is shaded. The entire trail network spans 10 miles of riding trails at an intermediate level.
Trail #3: Tiddlywinks Mountain Bike Trail (Bend, Oregon)
This trail bears a fun name and connections to several other local trails worth trying (including Funner Trail, COD Trail, Storm King Trail). The Tiddlywinks trail itself is just four miles, leaving you plenty of time to try the other nearby trails if you like. While much of the trail itself is smooth and easygoing, there are sufficient twists and turns and other surprises to rate it an intermediate trail in difficulty level. If you love the flow of mountain bike riding, this trail is a must-ride. Tiddlywinks is considered a favorite trail for local mountain bikers because of its rolling beauty as it seems to just “unfold” before you mile by mile. Tiddlywinks is also a great mountain biking trail to pick if you are just making your transition from beginning mountain biker up to the intermediate level because of the ratio of smooth riding to tricky passages.
Trail #4: Alsea Falls Trails System (Alsea Falls, Oregon)
The Alsea Falls Trails System just opened in 2014 and is already being hailed as a “glorious network of trails” by mountain biking enthusiasts and reviewers. At the moment, the completed trails span just six miles total. But there will be up to six additional miles of trail added in coming years for a total of 10 to 12 miles.
This trail network focuses on flow trails, which intersperse high speed biking with challenges not unlike what it might feel like to bike along a roller coaster track! Some riders have even said it feels a bit like whitewater river rafting to ride the new trail network in full. The trail actually has a beginner network (starting at Dutchman Trail) and an intermediate network (starting at Springboard Trail) so nearly all bikers can find something that works for their skill level.
As you ride, you may not have much attention to spare for the surrounding forest scenery, but you may want to make it a point to watch out for the 30-foot waterfall so you can enjoy the view there. One particular bonus of riding this trail is that it is not as well-known as some of the others due to its recent launch date. So even at peak tourist season you may find a bit more space and peace as you bike through the trail system.
Trail #5: Sandy Ridge Trail System (Salem District, Oregon)
The Sandy Ridge Trail System was opened to the public in 2009 and has been a hit with the mountain biking community ever since. The system encompasses 15 miles of trails that range from beginning level to intermediate level.
In fact, the Sandy Ridge design was aided by input from the International Mountain Biking Association and other established mountain biking groups to ensure it would be both visually appealing and challenging enough to bring in a steady flow of bikers.
As you bike along, with what attention you have to spare you can admire the rich stands of native trees as well as glimpses of local wildlife, the Sandy River and the Cascade mountain range. It is worth noting if you plan to bike this trail system that there is an initial climb that some bikers call “brutal.” But all say the initial pain is totally worth what you gain in the thrills and chills (as well as the natural beauty) of the downhill portions!
With these five beautiful and challenging trails to anchor your mountain biking trip through Oregon, you will return with great memories of beautiful scenery and lots of new riding chops – plus plenty of great stories to tell your envious mountain biking friends!